BARCELONNETTE, France - It's all over for Tejay van Garderen.

French TV's live coverage of Stage 17 of the Tour de France has just shown the American leader of the BMC team clambering off his bike on a climb and getting into a car.

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His withdrawal frees up space at the top-end of the overall rankings. He had started Wednesday's stage in third place overall, 3 minutes, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome.

BMC team officials wrapped their arms around his shoulders to comfort the 26-year-old American.

Clearly hurting and apparently ill following Tuesday's rest day, Van Garderen was dropped on the first of five climbs. He later caught up the peloton but was dropped again on the third climb and abandoned the race.